Russia Monitor: The Steady Drip, Drip, Drip Of Jarvanka’s White House Shakedowns

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/5/18) Dear Fellow Readers, White House chaos is a constant news stream but more important, Trump-Russia corruption, is… well, corruption. Corruption even in the form of selling out our foreign policy commitments for personal financial gain and fortune. There are two layers to this story. Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has used his position in the White House to seek new sources for funding to save the Kushner family business. We’ll come back to Kushner’s abuse of his government responsibilities but an even bigger outcome of his malpractice is the stick…


AUDIO REPORT — Westboro Baptist Church: Escaping ‘America’s Most Hated Family’

  Heart & Soul/BBC (2/23/18) Libby Phelps is the granddaughter of the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps. Nicknamed “America’s Most Hated Family”, the church in Kansas became infamous for telling homosexuals they were going to hell and picketing the funerals of US soldiers. But it was after the church rejoiced in the attacks of 11 September, that Libby questioned her faith, packed her bags and left – she escaped from the church. Today she now advocates for the LGBT community, the people she once condemned to hell. As a young girl Libby would attend school and play with her…


The Pentagon’s “Ides of March”: Best Month To Go To War?

  By  Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research (3/1/18) (First published on March 13, 2013, updated March 1, 2018.) Is it a coincidence? In recent history, from the Vietnam war to the present, the month of March has been chosen by Pentagon and NATO military planners as the “best month” to go to war. With the exception of the War on Afghanistan (October 2001) and the 1990-91 Gulf War, all major US-NATO and allied led military operations over a period of more than half a century –since the invasion of Vietnam by US ground forces on March 8, 1965– have been initiated…


‘Such A Fortunate Coincidence’: Trump Ally Carl Icahn Ditched Steel Stocks Before Tariffs Made Public

“Hmmm, is this a coincidence or did Trump confidant Carl Icahn have insider information?” By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (3/2/18) Carl Icahn, a former special adviser to President Donald Trump, is facing allegations of possible insider trading after a federal filing revealed the billionaire investor started selling off millions of dollars in stock for a company that significantly depends on steel just a few days before the Trump administration started publicly considering a steel tariff, which the president officially announced Thursday. As Common Dreams reported Thursday, Trump flouted warnings of a trade war from several members of his cabinet and announced that he will impose…


The Curious Case Of A Florida Citizen Who Called Politicians Corrupt & Got Thrown In Jail

  By Nina Totenberg NPR (2/27/18) It’s not that uncommon to hear someone complaining that politicians are corrupt. But you wouldn’t expect to be thrown in jail for it. That’s exactly what happened to Fane Lozman at a city council meeting in Florida. On Tuesday, that arrest got to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it could have implications not just for Lozman, but for the limits of First Amendment protections of freedom of speech. Oddly, it’s not Lozman’s first trip to the nation’s highest court. Five years ago, the financial trader won his first case against the city of Riviera…


Really? In Most States, It’s Legal For Cops To Have Sex With People In Their Custody

  By Liz Wolfe Rare (2/9/18) Though most Americans are probably unaware of it, in most states it’s not illegal for police officers to have sex with people in their custody. Nationally, 35 states allow a strange legal loophole where cops can claim a sexual encounter between them and their detainee is consensual to avoid rape or assault charges. A recent Buzzfeed report brought attention to the case of 18-year-old Brooklyn native Anna Doe, who was allegedly raped while handcuffed during a traffic stop. “Inside, Anna said the detectives took turns raping her in the backseat as the van cruised the dark…


Trumputin’s Vagina Delusions: ‘Sgt. Bone Spurs’ Says He Could Have Saved The Day In Parkland

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (3/1/18) Set aside the insanity and moral vacuum and political cowardice of an administration whose centerpiece response to yet another school shooting is to put forward the idea of arming up teachers and “hardening” our schools into closed bunkers. All of that is bizarre enough but then we get Donald ‘Sgt. Bone Spurs’ Trumputin pontificating about how things would have been different if he had been on hand at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus: “You don’t know until you’re tested, but I really believe I’d run in there even if…


From Pushing Empty ‘Thoughts & Prayers’ To Dissing Medicare For All, Dem Leadership Called Out For Sabotaging Progressive Demands

  By Julia Conley Common Dreams (2/27/18) Progressives found new reason for dismay on Tuesday after internal documents revealed efforts by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to squash support for Medicare for All and a separate attempt to curtail demands for stricter gun control following the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year. “It’s becoming evident that the DCCC—and the billionaire donors and revolving door consultants that make up the Democratic Party establishment—believe Democrats can only take back Congress by running on a watered down message…instead of the basic values of decency and fairness that voters demand,” said Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats…


Chris Hedges: Guns And The American Delusion Of Liberty

“Violence in America is not about the defense of liberty or radical change. It is an expression of domination, racism and hate. American vigilantes are the shock troops of capitalism. They butcher the weak on behalf of the strong.” By Chris Hedges TruthDig (2/25/18) The proliferation of guns in American society is not only profitable for gun manufacturers, it fools the disempowered into fetishizing weapons as a guarantor of political agency. Guns buttress the myth of a rugged individualism that atomizes Americans, disdains organization and obliterates community, compounding powerlessness. Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of…


Online Gun Cult Bullies Attack Florida School Shooting Victims

  “To threaten to kill a 17 year old because he had the temerity to ask a question of a politician says a lot about the people making the threats.” — Online comment. By Luke Barnes ThinkProgress (2/23/18) At a town hall on Wednesday night, the survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, made Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) squirm with a series of pointed questions about his support for the Second Amendment. One question that drew particularly loud cheers came from Cameron Kasky, when he asked Rubio, “Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from…


State Democrats Introduce Lethal Violence Protective Order Bill To Prevent Gun Violence

By Rep. Melissa Sargent (2/28/18) MADISON – On the heels of the mass shooting in Parkville, Florida, today State Representatives Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) and David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) along with their colleagues, State Senators Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee), introduced LRB-2543 creating a lethal violence protective order (LVPO) process in Wisconsin. Under the LVPO injunction process, if a person is likely to injure themselves or another person, a family member or law enforcement officer (among other specific parties specified under the bill) may petition to temporarily prevent the person from possessing or purchasing a firearm. “We’ve seen shooting after…


Russia Monitor: Trumputin’s Clown Prince & The Useful Idiot

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (3/1/18) Dear Fellow Readers, In a busy news cycle, the nod for most significant story goes to head of U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency Admiral Michael Rogers. Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner made a good (bad) case for himself, but priority of risk over noise of failure wins out. Rogers’ comment are a stunning indictment of Trump’s lack of leadership: Cyber Chief Says Trump Has Given Him No New Authority To Strike At Russian Interference Threat. In a damning portrait of Trump’s abject failure and dereliction of duty. Only the…


End Your Business Dealings With These NRA Corporate Collaborators

  By Robert Reich Robert Reich’s Facebook Page The list above shows a growing number of companies severing their links with the NRA by ending their discounts to NRA members — discounts that had been used by the NRA to promote membership. Yesterday, Delta, United, Best Western Hotels ended their relationships as well. Unfortunately, FedEx, eHealth, Life Line Screening, and a few others continue to collaborate with the NRA. You might consider ending your own business dealings with these NRA collaborators. #BoycottNRA Students are also asking that tourists boycott Florida when it comes to taking a vacation, until Florida lawmakers…


Paul Manafort &The Plot Against America

“Don’t fool yourself, that money we have is blood money.” — Andrea Manfort to her sister Jessica. By Franklin Foer The Atlantic (March 2018) . The Wisdom of Friends The clinic permitted paul manafort one 10-minute call each day. And each day, he would use it to ring his wife from Arizona, his voice often soaked in tears. “Apparently he sobs daily,” his daughter Andrea, then 29, texted a friend. During the spring of 2015, Manafort’s life had tipped into a deep trough. A few months earlier, he had intimated to his other daughter, Jessica, that suicide was a possibility….


The Hate Report: The Racist Right Is Packing Away The KKK Hoods And Upgrading To A Yuppie Brand

  By Aaron Sankin & Will Carless Reveal/Hate Report (2/23/18) In this week’s roundup: the waning power of the KKK, the argument over whether a New Mexico school shooter was a racist finally seems settled, and a meme turns “Black Panther” hatred on its head. In 2017, the number of active Ku Klux Klan chapters dropped by nearly 45 percent, from 130 in 2016 to 72 the following year, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. These figures provide hard data for a trend we’ve been hearing about anecdotally: the rapidly waning importance of the KKK within the white supremacist…


The Return — And Spread — Of Fascism

  TTBook/WPR (2/24/18) Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen [author of “To Fight Against This Age: On Fascism & Humanism”] warns that we’re just at the beginning of a new age of fascism. He says the trivialization of society and dumbing-down of liberal democracies is fueling a new generation of charismatic leaders whose doctrine of blame and resentment is just as toxic as it was in the last century. ***** Rob Riemen is a writer and the founder of the Nexus Institute. He studied Theology at Tilburg University and remembers this time as his magic mountain-era, after Thomas Mann’s masterpiece ‘The Magic…


Billy Graham — Over & Over Again, On The Wrong Side Of History And Morality

  By Matthew Avery Sutton The Guardian (2/21/18) When Billy Graham stands before the judgment seat of God, he may finally realize how badly he failed his country, and perhaps his God. On civil rights and the environmental crisis, the most important issues of his lifetime, he championed the wrong policies. Graham was on the wrong side of history. The world’s most famous evangelist let his apocalyptic anticipation of the coming kingdom of God blind him to the realities of living in this world. For Graham, the Bible had a clear message for Christians living in what he believed were humans’ last…


Family Of AR-15 Inventor Eugene Stoner: He Never Intended It for Civilians

flickr photo In fact, he never even owned one. By Tony Dokoupil NBC News (6/16/16) The AR-15 is the most talked about gun in America. But the AR-15’s creator died before the weapon became a popular hit and his family has never spoken out. Until now. “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47,” the Stoner family told NBC News late Wednesday. “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more…


Democrats Call For Gun Control At Home, While They Join GOP Pushing Bloody Arms Deals Abroad

  By Adam Johnson In These Times (2/22/18) In the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead, many Democrats in Congress are once again calling for gun control, as they have for decades. But all too often, this concern for the unchecked spread of weapons ends at America’s shores. Last week, top Democratic senators, such as Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), expressed outrage over the lack of action by Congress to stop gun violence in America. However these same senators voted against an effort in 2017 to end the U.S. arming of the Saudi Arabian government—a flagrant human rights…


Charlie Sykes: How The Right Lost Its Mind & Fell Into Mindless Tribalism

  “What does it mean to be a conservative? I have no idea anymore.” Commonwealth Club (10/18/17) Once at the center of the American conservative movement, best-selling author and radio host Charles Sykes is a fierce opponent of Donald Trump and the right-wing media that has enabled his rise. Sykes will present an impassioned, regretful and deeply thoughtful account of how the American conservative movement came to lose its values, asking: How did a movement that was defined by its belief in limited government, individual liberty, free markets, traditional values and civility find itself embracing bigotry, political intransigence, demagoguery and…


Why Are Democratic Party Thinktanks Still All Squishy On Universal Healthcare For All?

    By Adam Gaffney The Guardian (2/25/18) On Thursday, the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democratic party-affiliated think tank, launched a proposal confusingly called “Medicare Extra for All”. For proponents of a Bernie Sanders-style single-payer “Medicare for All”, this might seem like a positive development. Well, yes and no. On the one hand, “Medicare Extra” is a step to the left for CAP, suggesting that the Democratic establishment is following the lead of its galvanized base. On the other hand, this new proposal would exact sacrifices from patients to placate the insurance industry, and could serve to divert…


Russia Monitor: Democratic House Intel Memo Slam Dunks GOP’s Sketchy Nunes Memo

By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/26/18) Dear Fellow Readers, We’ll start by nominating four candidates for top story since the last edition of the Russia Monitor… Sen. Diane Feinstein loses the endorsement of the California state Democratic party to Kevin de Leon, a more liberal candidate. Leadership by Parkland shooting survivors knocks back the NRA and drive down Trump’s approval rating matching his lowest level (35%; CNN). Former Trump campaign deputy chair Rick Gates enters guilty plea and agrees to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee see their memo on government surveillance during…


VIDEO: Glenn Greenwald & James Risen Debate The Trump-Russia Investigations

Intercepted (2/21/18) JAMES RISEN AND GLENN GREENWALD have both won Pulitzer Prizes. They both have found themselves in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for their journalism. And they both write for The Intercept. But Jim and Glenn have taken very different approaches to covering the Trump/Russia story. In this one-hour special video edition of Intercepted, they go head-to-head in a debate. Glenn is one of the most high-profile critics of the official story bolstered by the U.S. intelligence community, the Democrats, and many media outlets, including some of this country’s most powerful papers and news channels. Jim battled both the Bush and…


Inside ‘Atomwaffen’ As It Celebrates A Member For Allegedly Killing A Gay Jewish College Student

  By A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, Ali Winston, special to ProPublica, and Jake Hanrahan, special to ProPublica ProPublica (2/23/18) Late last month, ProPublica reported that the California man accused of killing a gay and Jewish University of Pennsylvania student was an avowed neo-Nazi and a member of Atomwaffen Division, one of the country’s most notorious extremist groups. The news about the murder suspect, Samuel Woodward, spread quickly throughout the U.S., and abroad. Woodward was accused of fatally stabbing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein and burying his body in an Orange County park. The report, it turns out, was also taken up in the secretive online chats…


Democratic Party’s Corporate DC Establishment Targets Progressive Texas Candidate For US House

  By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (2/23/18) A progressive Democrat who is running to represent Houston, Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives is being negatively targeted by the House campaign arm of her own party, and EMILY’s List, a powerhouse group that works to elect pro-choice women, has opted to support an opponent with corporate ties, according to a series of reports this week. Laura Moser, a journalist and creator of the text messaging app Daily Action—which lets subscribers know about a simple civic action they can take to fight President Donald Trump’s agenda—is one of seven Democrats battling for the opportunity this November to unseat incumbent…


‘I hear you’ – Trump Depends Upon Cue Card To Remind Him To Listen To Shooting Survivors

  Presidential agenda … By Martin Belam The Guardian (2/22/18) Briefing notes captured by photographers at US president Donald Trump’s White House listening session with survivors of gun violence show that he needed to be reminded to say “I hear you”. Close-up pictures of the note revealed that it had five points, of which the first was a reminder to ask the question: “What would you most want me to know about your experience”. The second question listed is “What can we do to make you feel safe?” The president’s note also prompted Trump to ask survivors for their ideas,…


Understanding The Values That Keep Trumputin Supporters Loyal

They’re standing by their man, even as he fails to live up to his promises. By Paul Buchheit AlterNet (2/18/18) It’s incomprehensible to many of us that people could support a president who, in Bernie Sanders’ words, “is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation.” Based on various trusted sources and a dab of cognitive science, it’s fair to conclude that there are three main…


Up In Smoke: The Myth Of A Normal America

  There are no good old days to return to in U.S. politics. The truth about a post-Trump era. (Editor’s Note: Is the Democratic Party up to the new world we are facing in American politics? Do party leaders really grasp that the old rules of American politics are up in smoke? So far there is scant evidence that the DNC has any grasp how the game board has been redefined. That is bad news for all of us. — Mark L. Taylor) By Kevin Baker The New Republic (2/15/18) The remaining hope for all Americans of good sense, more…


Robert Reich: Morality & The Common Good Must Be At Center Of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

  Democracy Now! (2/20/18) As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, the promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a…


Freedom Had Nothing To Do With Writing The Second Amendment. It Was All About Preserving Slavery

  By Thom Hartman TruthOut (1/15/13) The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the framers knew the difference — see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason and James Madison were totally clear on that… and we all should be too. In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states. In Georgia, for example, a generation before…


Scarlet Letter: What The NRA ‘A’ Rating Is Really All About

  “Lives Over Bribes” — Gun control rally sign. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/22/18) The recent mass shooting — the latest bauble on the bloody necklace of American exceptionalism — has ignited the recent episode of national gun cult debate we have all grown numbingly use to. There are the predictable laments of “never thought it could happen here”, the candle-lit vigils, prayer services, grieving families, parades of ambulances and the empty thoughts and cynical prayers of the nation’s supposed ruling class. A ruling class that just can’t bring itself to even consider a tiny less wealth…


Florida High School Students Acting In The Courageous Tradition Of Their School’s Namesake

    By Peter Dreier The American Prospect (2/20/18) There’s nothing on the Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School website about the woman whose name adorns the school, so its students may not realize that in rising from last week’s tragedy to speak truth to power, they are following in Douglas’s activist footsteps. Douglas would certainly see a bit of herself in Emma Gonzalez, the poised and eloquent young woman whose speech electrified her classmates, teachers, parents, and the whole country at a Fort Lauderdale rally on Saturday, only days after a gunman entered her school and killed 17 people. “If the president wants to come…


Craven Rightwing Media Attacking Florida Teens Speaking Out On Government-Sanctioned Gun Violence

  By Jason Wilson The Guardian (2/20/18) After Parkland’s mass shooting, the wind seems to have changed. Students are speaking out, demanding that politicians act. And they’re getting some traction. Many found their voice on Twitter and directly attacked Donald Trump’s strange and distracted online response to the massacre. David Hogg, a student journalist who interviewed his classmates as the massacre was happening, has been one of the leaders of a chorus of students calling for tough action on gun control. Emma González made a widely shared, impassioned speech which attacked the president directly, calling out the funding he has received from the National Rifle Association. Today,…


Russia Monitor: There’s A Reason The Word Treason Makes More & More Sense For Trumptin

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (2/22/18) Dear Fellow Readers, Russia attacks the U.S., interfering in U.S. elections for the benefit of Trump, and this president offers no condemnation, no warnings against future attacks and offers absolutely no steps to protect us. It’s as if Trump is in bed with the Russians. This can’t be said with enough emphasis: Trump Is Ignoring The Worst Attack On America Since 9/11. This from Max Boot writing for The Washington Post: “Imagine if, after 9/11, the president had said that the World Trade Center and Pentagon could have been attacked by “China” or “lots of…


The Best At Being The Worst: Trumputin Breaks All Records For Failure, Bigly!

Trumputin — So Proud.   By Brad Reed The Raw Story (2/19/18) President Donald Trump’s first year in office — which was marked by a nonstop stream of scandals, as well as record-low approval ratings — was so bad that a survey of scholars has already ranked Trump as the worst president ever. Writing in the New York Times, political scientists Brandon Rottinghaus and Justin S. Vaughn reveal that their most recent survey of scholars shows that Trump’s first year was seen as a catastrophe by both Democrats and Republicans in the field of political science. According to the survey, Democratic…


John Oliver Returns: Trump vs The World

Comedian and social critic John Oliver returned to the air Sunday night with a pointed and powerful take down of Donald Trump’s disastrous impact on the image and effectiveness of the United States overseas. Ambassador posts remain unfilled in critical capitols around the globe. Trump proposes a 29% cut in the State Department budget, leaving the nation with less and less soft power to represent national needs and interests and leaving us with a higher likelihood of armed conflicts. In just over a year Trump and his bumbling band of misfits has turned the nation into a laughingstock from corner…


Noam Chomsky: What Role Are You Really Expected To Play In Our ‘Democracy’

  “Now there are two “functions” in a democracy: The specialized class, the responsible men, carry out the executive function, which means they do the thinking and planning and understand the common interests. Then, there is the bewildered herd, and they have a function in democracy too. Their function in a democracy, [Lippmann] said, is to be “spectators,” not participants in action. But they have more of a function than that, because it’s a democracy. Occasionally they are allowed to lend their weight to one or another member of the specialized class. In other words, they’re allowed to say, “We…


Guns Make Republicans Feel Safe Which Means Our Children Must Die

The center-left’s sins on this front are rooted in cowardice; the right’s, in quasi-religious conviction. By Eric Levitz New York Magazine (2/15/18) On Thursday morning, the president delivered a speech about gun violence without ever uttering the word gun. By the time Donald Trump began his remarks, America had suffered 18 school shootings in 44 days, and more than 300 mass shootings since the start of his presidency. But this broader context also went unmentioned. Instead, Trump focused his address narrowly on Wednesday’s massacre at a high-school in Parkland, Florida, and the need for “healing” in its wake. The president spoke of God…


Our Escalating War Against Our Children

    By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/19/18) Since its founding the citizens of the United States have been quite comfortable with the killing and mass slaughter of other peoples’ children. From the ongoing genocide of the Native American population through violence, disease and introduced addictions on to the wars of empire waged in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Central America, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We continue to kill other peoples’ children with the casual selective blindness of industrialized for-profit warfare in Iraq (where our mercenaries continue to operate) and Yemin (where we supply the Saudi military with cluster…


Want To Hear Real Truth On School Shootings? Forget The Traitorous Politicians & Listen To This Parkland Teen Tear Into Trump, Republicans & NRA

“We call BS!” By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (2/17/18) Thousands gathered Saturday for a rally outside the federal courthouse, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—about 25 miles away from the mass shooting Wednesday—where speakers including survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre gave powerful speeches for gun control. Among them was Stoneman Douglas student Emma Gonzalez, who slammed President Donald Trump, denounced the many politicians who receive donations from the powerful National Rifle Association of America (NRA), and called BS on those who “say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence.” She began by saying that the “school bard, faculty…